Will Smith Visits L.A. Lakers and Talks About Having ‘Gratitude in Times of Great Challenge’

Actor Will Smith joins Warner Bros.  Photos' "Focus"  premiered at the TCL Chinese Theater on February 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

Actor Will Smith attends the Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Focus” at the TCL Chinese Theater on February 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

Jason Merritt/Getty Will Smith

Will Smith is returning to acting and the public eye.

The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Wednesday that the player, 54, who has remained silent following his Oscars controversy in March, visited the team as part of the Lakers’ Genius Talks. The event is an annual meeting where celebrities speak to the team to provide inspiration.

The Oscar winner was given the No. 14 Lakers and was photographed by the team and team owner, Jeanie Buss, and general manager, Rob Pelinka. According to the Lakers, the player spoke about “strength through unity, and learning to be grateful in times of great hardship.”

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The team is currently in the midst of a losing streak.

Smith’s message was said to be inspired by “themes in his upcoming feature film, Emancipation.”

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Also sharing a photo of the team, Smith wrote on Instagram: “I saw #Emancipation at the @lakers and we had a great conversation about the movie Genius Series… big to everyone who came!! Next stop… my @six.”

Apple Original Films released the official trailer for the film earlier this month in which Smith plays a man who escapes slavery and sets out to find freedom.

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At a screening of the film held in early October, Smith explained the theme of the film and its message.

“Throughout my career, I’ve turned down a lot of movies set in slavery,” Smith said at the ceremony. The Vadivelu Comedy Hollywood Reporter. “I never wanted to show us like that. And now this picture came. And this is not a film about slavery. This is a film about freedom. This is a film about strength. This is a film about faith. A film about the human heart – what can be called the first viral picture. The cameras were just created, and the image of Peter who was beaten went around the world.”

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It’s his first movie since his performance at the 94th Academy Awards where he slapped Chris Rock in front of the audience after the actor made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

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While Smith won the Best Actor award that night King Richard performance, he resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was subsequently banned from Academy performances for ten years following the incident.

Smith won Best Actor at this year’s BET Awards in June but did not attend the event.


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